Ladenburg looking at student loans, impact investing, health care for future fintech investments

At its second Innovation Symposium, the firm considered which issues will affect the future of financial advice

May 17, 2019 @ 2:23 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

To help advisers at its subsidiary firms stay current with the socioeconomic trends shaping the future of the financial advice industry, Ladenburg Thalmann brought together 75 forward-thinking, growth-oriented advisers for its second Innovation Symposium in San Francisco this week.

The so-called "gig economy" was a major theme of 2018's Innovation Symposium, but Dan Sachar, Ladenburg vice president for enterprise innovation and head of the Ladenburg Innovation Lab, said this year's meeting focused more on student loan debt, impact investing and rising health-care costs.

(More: New bill links 401(k) matches to student loan payments)

Ladenburg invited eight early-stage financial technology startups that are working on solutions for these macro-trends, giving advisers a chance to see how the tools could fit into their firms.

"All of those were trying to feed into what are the services [advisers] need to offer to cater to the future generation of clients," Mr. Sachar said. "We already position ourselves as holistic advisers, but what we realize now is what that means is starting to change."

The idea is to collect feedback from the select group of advisers, then invest in developing a product that can be introduced to the 4,300 advisers across Ladenburg's subsidiaries: Securities America, Triad Advisors, KMS Financial Services, Investacorp and Securities Service Network.

(More: Ladenburg partnering advisers with startups to accelerate tech innovation)

After last year's event, Ladenburg made an investment in Track Technology, which provides tax automation for independent contractors, freelancers and other self-employed people participating in the gig economy.

Thursday, the company announced the general availability of a new product that lets advisers calculate, withhold and submit estimated tax payments for self-employed clients.

"As a result of the feedback we received from advisers and other attendees at last year's symposium — and the sustained dialogue and collaboration we established with Ladenburg after they made a strategic investment in Track in July — we have been able to further strengthen our solutions and tailor them much more closely to advisers' needs," Trent Bigelow, CEO of Track Technologies, said in a statement.

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